Newly Swissed Online Magazine

31 reasons why Switzerland is the happiest country

Lake Zurich Boat Arrival - April 2015

Switzerland has often topped other countries in happiness ratings. Why is that? What are the underlying reasons for all these good vibes among the Swiss?

In the decade since the release of the World Happiness Report, Switzerland has always played in the top 10 of the world's happiest countries, with only one exception. In 2015, Switzerland had even claimed the top position, leading the 158 nations that were surveyed.

The World Happiness Report is based on an aggregation of factors that contribute to life satisfaction. Among the measured data are GDP per capita, life expectancy, or freedom from corruption. However, keep in mind that it is not a ranking based on survey results of actual people's happiness feelings.

What factors make Switzerland so attractive? Here are the real reasons why Switzerland is the happiest country in the world...

Even at the most hectic times, we keep it cool and show no sign of stress.

Our public transportation is on time, tidy and clean, so we never worry about commuting.

Swiss Public Transportation

When the roads are packed, we stay calm. And we get embarrassed when someone honks a horn.

We greet each other on the street.

WhatsApp does not cut it for friendships. We prefer spending quality time with friends at apéros.

Nature starts at our doorsteps.

Greifensee with View of Glarner Alps

We can drink delicious water from any public fountain.

Switzerland Fountain Water

Our lakes are cleaner than most swimming pools.

Having cows and other farm animals at every corner cheers us up!

Happy Swiss Cows

Buying milk and eggs produced by free roaming animals makes us happy.

Happy Swiss Chicken

Most fruits and vegetables from the farm are "organic" by default.

Market Day in Switzerland

We have Roger Federer, the King of Tennis. We feel happy when he wins a match.

And we have Heidi! Other countries might have Captain America and Harry Potter, but Heidi is Switzerland's true hero.

UNESCO have inscribed 11 sites on the World Heritage List for a reason.

Rhaetische Bahn - Chur to Arosa

86 percent of Swiss adults have earned the equivalent of a high school degree - that's higher than the global OECD average of 74 percent.

The apprenticeship system takes into account that not everyone if happy being an academic.

Those with a Swiss work contract enjoy four to five weeks of paid vacation per year.

Boat on Lake Zurich

By law, maternity leave lasts for 14 weeks, and paternity leave of two weeks.

Universal health care coverage means that seeing a doctor is not a matter of affordability. Appointment waiting times are among the lowest in the world.

Chocolate really is a happy food (and we have loads of good choices at non-ridiculous prices).

Swiss Chocolate Aisle at Migros

We have the wine of Italy, the beer of Germany and the food of France.

Ascona Switzerland

And we grow up as multilinguals, so we can order anything off the menu in Italian, German, French or English.

Having access to more than one variety of Swiss cheese is a major happiness factor.

Swiss Cheese Varieties

We have the friendliest power sockets in the world.

Swiss Power Socket

We are as close to a direct democracy as you can get. Thus, we get to vote on everything and anything.

Swiss Direct Democracy - Voting Ballot

There are at least four viable political parties to pick from.

Contrary to popular belief, we don't take ourselves too seriously.

Bachelorette Party Zürich

Wearing Speedos is still acceptable.

We get to enjoy all the Swiss perks for an average of 83 years.

Our broadband internet speeds are among the world's fastest: 113.01 mbps.

The Swiss flag is a big plus, too!

Swiss Flag

(Collaboration post with inputs from Alessandra, Christian, Dimitri and Gabby - Sources: Maternity Leave Switzerland, UNESCO World Heritage, broadband speeds)

Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor, and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of Swiss Travel Communicators.

Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.


  • Universal health care coverage means that seeing a doctor is not a matter of affordability.
    mmm…disagree. You have to pay for insurance, and cheap insurances have high excesses. There is no such thing as free healthcare. When I lived in Switzerland, yes, going to the doctor was a matter of how much money I had. Every other point, I agree

    • 300 CHF of excess is not that much comon, and it’s there to keep costs a bit down otherwise people would go for every cold to the doctor, while people with bad health are always going over 300 CHF so they can go anyway.
      You’re right there’s no such thing as free healthcare, in other countries it is included in taxes (but you may have to contribute out of pocket), here you pay it separate but taxes are lower, so not much difference in the end. And don’t forget that people with children or lower wages have their premiums paid partially or totally by the canton, so you don’t need to choose an insurance with high excess because you get money to pay for it (but you can choose a cheaper one and keep the money for yourself ofc).

      • mmm…I wish my excess was 300 CHF. In fact it was 2000CHF. That was the only premium I could afford, so I had to pay for all trips to the doctor. Sometimes I was sick, and I didn’t go because of money.

      • Have you applied for cantonal benefits? In canton ticino for example 1/3 of the people receives help from the canton to pay for the premium, and 1/10 have their premium fully paid by the state.

      • Yep, I got help of course (not fully paid). My point is, for many people out there who can only afford insurance with high excess, they do still worry about going to the doctor. So the description in this article is a bit misleading. To me, universal healthcare is healthcare which is free to everyone because it’s paid through tax payer money. Just my own two cents.

    • oh here in the USA I have come to appreciate the Swiss Health Insurance System..I never had the feeling of not being able ot pay …when I was in Witzerland..And I lived there untill five years ago..

  • Well and yet we have one of the highest suicidal rates world wide. And homosexuals – can they get married or adopt children? Nope. Are they protected against homophobia by law? Another big nope. Plus i you’ve ever been to Zurich you would know that honking does not make anyone feel ashamed there, there are no cows and if there were I doubt they would make anyone happy and no person from Zurich will ever greet you on the street if they don’t know you. In addition I know the whole free range and organic stuff is great but again you’re forgetting that not everybody can afford to pay one franc (more or less equivalent to 1$) for a single organic egg.

    • I agree with the homosexual thing, but the country itself is not homophobic at all. You may have countries like Mexico where they get married but get killed as well… it’s a lot better to have them accepted by the culture than by law ;) And about Zürich that’s the same in every big city, maybe they don’t say hi but they won’t stare at you as if you had a mental illness as in Paris. Honestly, everything listed on this list is right, you can get ALL in Switzerland, maybe not everywhere, but at least in Switzerland. Try to enjoy our beautiful country a little bit more ;)

      • It’s true that Swiss politics are favourable to LGTB people, but homophobes are everywhere, even here.
        People won’t greet you in the Bahnhofstrasse, but it’s true that we greet more, because we’re basically mountain people. I remember a friend of mine coming to ZH to study – he lived in Oerlikon, and on his first day, he texted me “OMG, some unknown woman just greeted me on the street !!”

    • Maybe you are a typical zurich-centric expact who thinks switzerland=zurich, take the train and get out of there it takes just a few minutes. There is people that say hi on the street but you don’t do that in crowded cities obviously, although most people say bye when they leave the elevator for example, and in the workplace people always greet each other even if they don’t know each other.
      Regarding homosexuals, there’s a form of registered partnership, and the parliament is discussing to implement a form of marriage france-style. Anyway they’re less than 1% of the population so you would agree it really doesn’t change much statistically. Regarding law against homophobia you create a new law when there’s a need, but there are already laws against discrimination and the society and culture itself says that all people should be considered equal and is very accepting even if a bit conservative at times, not one person would manifest their homophobia in public here, and if they are in private you can’t police thoughts.

    • Clearly you haven’t visited the rest of Switzerland. Zurich is known to be a job central, and quite honestly, I don’t think you have taken the time to appreciate all of Switzerland. Have you travelled the place before? Clearly not. You brought up homophobia? Are you kidding me? My family is purely Swiss and they are hella accepting. I’m not saying that the country lives in a fully accepting community, because we don’t. No country does. I’m fifteen years old, and your probably going to tell me that I have barely experienced anything but, that’s not true. I’ve lived in Panama, Colombia, Switzerland, and Guatemala. Moved seven times. Entered eight fantastic schools, and learned so much. I am also part Guatemalan. And from my knowledge, Switzerland is beautiful. Yes, it is expensive, so what? Just drive to France or Germany, it’s not that far away. Stop complaining and treasure the place! Life is so short, and your wasting it on this? Really? Come on. Focus on the good side. I understand that there are moments where you just burst, but live a little. Go out on a picnic with your family! Enjoy the lakes, and have a bite out of that delicious treat you bought yourself!

  • they do not even respect the right to property (if u are foreigner) and other fundamental human rights; the majority of the population is made of ticks sucking blood from all over the world; judges are more biased than political parties leaders and it ranks 40 in the world list of countries by suicide rate… come stop bullshitting around with silly news!

    • The numerically few people (like 130 every million people) that kill themselves do not change the statistics of happiness and doesn’t mean everyone is unhappy, suicide is caused by underlying conditions too. Also you can’t forget that switzerland allows euthanasy for terminally ill and suffering people, and there’s a suicide tourism from other countries which do not allow it.

  • they do not even respect the right to property and other fundamental human rights; the majority of the population is made of ticks sucking blood from all over the world; judges are more biased than political parties leaders and it ranks 40 in the world list of countries by suicide rate… come on please stop bullshitting around with silly news!

    • The silly one here is you. I imagine that you are the guest that just wrote the other thing correcting yourself with the foreigner thing, because you noticed that was b.s., there’s NO country that allows foreigners to have whatever they want. I’m from Mexico and we don’t allow that either, and it’s entirely normal, I mean the land is for your citizens… And as far as I know they can get properties and everything, otherwise it wouldn’t be too expensive to live in Lac Léman area (which is filled with rich foreigners). About the ticks HAHAHAHAHAH where are we sucking blood from? It’s not our fault that the poor countries can’t manage to explode their own resources, if that’s what you meant. Finally suicide rate doesn’t mean unhappiness, so please stop being jealous ;) And all of this was from an UN study, so it’s not silly news ;) Anyway… have a good day in your unhappy jealous country, or try to get more integrated in this one if you happen to already live here.

  • As a Swiss, it always makes me smile how people think this country is some sort of Eldorado. Yes, CH is a beautiful and prosperous country but all that glitters ain’t gold – like:

    – train travel is generally ok, but the Swiss rail network is heavily used, especially in the greater ZH area, and when something happens, it’s MAJOR – like, Bern station shutting down for 4 hrs, some electrical fault in ZH HB messing up all the national network, the Gotthard line plagued by landslides….just off the top of my head. Plus, it’s horribly expensive, compared to neighbouring countries.

    – when the roads are packed, they are packed solid. CH is in the middle of Europe and everyone from the North who wants to go to Italy passes through our country. Which means, constant queues on the A2 on every holiday/bank holiday/major event.

    – “We have the wine of Italy, the beer of Germany and the food of France” should be changed into “We BUY the wine in Italy, the beer in Germany and the food in France”. Switzerland is so expensive that people run off to nearby countries to shop as much as they can. I live just 30 minutes from the German border, and even though I buy most of my stuff at local shops, I frequently go there, also because opening times are much longer. My parents live in Ticino and they go to buy food in Italy almost every weekend, and so do all the people I know.

    – Multilingual country, yes, multilingual people…maybe ??!!. It’s true that most people can speak or at least understand two national languages, but it’s not that simple: Italian, for example, is not as widespread as French and German.

    • And don’t forget that Switzerland is full of People who are always complaining about something. ;)

      • I think Italians and Brits are the reigning champions of the Self Pity Championship.
        Swiss people only really complain when car drivers from D/I/F/A don’t stop at the pedestrian crossing.

      • Umm, Swiss people walk onto the streets without watching out and then complain when they get run over…

      • … and swear out loud if they see AG on the car plate.
        BTW, I don’t like that Federer guy at all. I am more a Stan fan.

      • None of you obviously have ever been to the Philippines. Send your incessantly bickering whiners to my country, where nothing works, our sports heroes are bigoted homophobes and every politician will rob you blind, I guarantee that they will cease to complain about anything upon returning home.

      • @Thomas@disqus_Ut6FX3BCwh:disqus , every country is full of people who are always complaining about something. I’ve lived in two so far and that seems to be the case!

    • Jimbo, you sound so Swiss by your post. Shake it off. That negative, antipathetic, ungrateful tone. Learn to appreciate the beauty in what others say of your country, if you cannot appreciate your country’s beauty. When I hear Swiss people complain – about the train being late, about the bus coming only every 7 minutes, the autobahn filled with cars on a weekend, etc. etc., I would if I could send all these complaining locals on a no-return trip to somewhere in South Asia, in the hope that they see the exceptionally good life they have in this country, instead of bickering about that unfilled part of an almost overflowing glass.

      • Hang on. I am not complaining at all – just stating that things are not as perfect as people think. I don’t care if trains are late – I take the S12 every day, after all – but living here has its upsides and downsides. I love my country, and I didn’t mean to sound too ungrateful, but sometimes it bothers me that people only see it as a haven for the rich and famous.
        Every place has its fair share of complainers – I can’t believe Italians bitch about their country when they have the most beautiful cities, the most fantastic food, etc.

    • As a Swiss, I partially agree with you, what you said about the prices is 100% true – Switzerland is a very expensive country. However, the salaries are higher. Furthermore, the transports may be a bit crowded sometimes but if you go to (try to) take the metro in a city like São Paulo, you will have a different opinion about the SBB.

  • Nowhere is perfect. But generally speaking, I’m proud and thankful to live in this beautiful country. :)

  • hum…sorry to break it down to you..but as a swiss i can tel: lakes are not clean in any way, they are full of radioactivity & industrial dump from the big toxic companies, we don’t greet each other in most cities, except if you live in a small country town which is common all over the world- people are rather cold and distrustful of others, we stay calm??? the Swiss just repress emotions, they don’t controll them. They explode on someone else in an abusive (authoritative) positions for example or on voting right wing or dobbing neighbors to police if LAWS! oh sacred laws and strictest regulations in the world! are infringed for a second, multilingual? English mastered?? few will find people in CH who actually can speak decent English. Maternity leave was introduced in Switzerland about 40 yrs ago only, which makes it the last country in the world to give this right to women. Paternity leave???? wait next century! There are also good things, we shall say, but lets not say a lot of BS on the points above.

  • Ok,i as Kenyan,i have been reading and reading about how good is Swiss.Not only that,according to my research,i hav come accross knowing thatSwiss is the cleanliness country in the world.

  • Wonders will never end,,,,,how comes some of you Swiss,,eg.Jimbo is blaming his on country,not knowing that he is also a citizen there

  • I hate articles like these. Like any country there are upsides and downsides. NO country, city or state is perfect. These articles tend to paint a one-sided “fantasy” scenario for those that know nothing about Switzerland, Canada, Italy, Germany, etc. You have to make a choice based on actual facts and who best to tell the story then the residents who actually live in said areas.

  • State of the Swiss/Austrian White man:

    This is a country well renowned for it sick racism. However
    over a period of 3 years whenever I went jogging some stupid and naturally ugly
    middle aged women would peer their heads out of their bedroom windows asking
    for a quickie (I place my hand on any bible to affirm it’s true). This is a place
    where free mason brothers let you know they are first among equals whilst
    tacitly try to stick their tongue down your throat and then pretend not to know
    you when others are around. This is a country where abuse is hurled at you just
    for going to the post office to send a postcard or the lady at the check out
    counter tries to tell you what you should buy because you’re black! This is a
    country where they try to give your managerial job to a Swiss assistant because
    he must be superior to the black man’s mind and then panic when you decide to
    leave and contractually try to bind you to write manuals about how you did your
    job so effortlessly because their Swiss boy is having a nervous breakdown! This
    is the country that has the Swiss guard…guarding paedophilia, misogyny, sodomy
    and self flagellation…hoping to be cannonised…PATHETIC, RACIST BASTARDS! If
    Jesus Christ were ever to come back, these hypocrites would be the yery one to
    murder him again!This is a country where upon arrival at the airport you get abused
    and treated shabbily by customs police because a black man must naturally be
    carrying drugs. This is a country where I strolled from the train station to my
    flat, locked the door, collapsed behind it thanking God for their Direct
    Democracy and rule of law because otherwise one of the at least ten people
    (some just spat on the floor at the sight of a black man, some wanted to step
    to me in confrontation for nothing) would have done something harmful to me!
    This is a place where you are always served last in any restaurant because the
    white Swiss masters come first! This is a place where a young Swiss girl can
    tell the Swiss transport police that she wants your paid for seat on any train
    and you are forcibly removed for her! This is also a country with one of the
    highest suicide rates in the world (I don’t mean medically assisted) but is
    projected as one of the happiest places on earth. BS!!!This a place so
    desperate to dress up its image (as if the world cares) that even certain so
    called mystics indulge in paedophilia and cover it up. They had the worst case
    of mad cow disease but covered that up also. This is a place where people knock
    on your door because you are dating a Caucasian woman feeling they have to
    protect her. In most countries babies do not know race but in Switzerland
    babies cry hysterically at the sight of a black man and mixed raced kids are
    called “die hubshi kliini negerli”, “the cute little niggers” in school! This
    is a place that when being harassed by a drunk Swiss man and you call the
    police…they let him go and take you in for interrogation and demand to look up
    your anus to check for drugs! This is where I went with my Swiss girlfien and
    her parents to a place called Ligerz where a traditional festival was happening
    and the whole place stopped and stared at me (even the music stopped for about
    a thousand people to let me know in no uncertain terms that you should leave
    “Auslaender raus!” This is a place where the latent homosexuality surfaces in
    the gym showers and you get groped against your consent (you’re just a nigger
    anyway) and are afraid to call the police in case of further harassment. The
    wife of my girlfriend’s brother (Claudia) kept finding ways to fart in my face
    (I cannot explain why). In the 1920s black Africans were taken there, put in
    animal cages and place in the capital centre just to be looked at (check the
    archives of Schweizer Illustrierte Magazine). This is a place you have to cross
    the road or change train carriages because some stupid Swiss woman wants to act
    out her fantasy about her Swiss man protecting her from the big bad nigger.
    Nigger in German is Neger: The naturally guity one, the one you can attribute
    all the ills of humanity to.

    Funnily enough the Swiss try to show the world that they are
    humanitarian by taking in refugees only to treat them like animals! I remember
    being sent there from England (I am Black British) to do a financial project
    there…one of the Swiss women I worked with (she was shocked at my intelligence
    as a black man) gave me a lift to the train station and told her Swiss
    colleague that I was exceptional because I didn’t try to molest her. Meanwhile
    most Swiss women have been hit with the biggest and most potent of ugly sticks.
    Suffice to say the relationship didn’t work because of a society that is so
    reliant on raw commodities from Africa!

  • As both an American citizen and a Swiss citizen, I have some insight into this that may surprise everyone. First, more Swiss live outside of Switzerland than inside of it. Ever wondered why that is? One of the big reasons is that Switzerland is a pressure-cooker, in terms of uptight people and uber-conformity. It’ so bad that Switzerland has one fo the highest suicide rates in Europe, compared to many other European countries such as Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It’s also higher than the sucide rate in the United States. Moreover, many Swiss move abroad because of the lack of intellectual and creative opportunities. Second, the average Swiss person has zero ambition and is completely comfortable with a simple, Cafe and Croissant lifestyle that ultimately is terribly boring. I mean, look at the companies changing the world. Where are they located? The United States. Google, Apple, Microsoft. Did any of those start in Switzerland? Another factor in this one-sided study is the longeivity issue. Well, if Switzerland shared a border with a third world nation, such as Mexico (a border, by the way equal to the mileage from Zaragoza, Spain to Moscow, Russia) they would not rank nearly so high in that category. Furthermore, the Swiss do not have a large, violent criminal class in the inner city killing themselves with drugs and shootings. So factor that in. And finally, of course the third-world venerating U.N. will never criticize Switerland. Never. They might irritate their masters because many of their lead organizations are headquartered there. Thus, take this silly study (read: opinion) with a grain of salt. As Abraham Lincoln famously said, “People are about as happy as they decide to be.”

    • ” It’ so bad that Switzerland has one fo the highest suicide rates in
      Europe, compared to many other European countries such as Norway,
      Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It’s also higher than the suicide rate in
      the United States.”

      Switzerland is at no. 77 according to Wikipedia (if that’s even considered accurate), so it’s not too bad. Also the US has a much higher higher suicide rate than Switzerland due to work culture and rising costs as well as the ever declining lifespan.

      • Kurodan,

        As a former journalist, I can attest to the unreliability of Wikipedia. It’s notorious for errors and misinformation, since much of it is created by ordinary people all over the world. A much more accurate statistic is this one, which shows that Switzerland has a far higher suicide rate than even I thought:

        As for the lower life expectancy in the U.S., remember that America is both multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, with a much more diverse population (for better or worse) than are all Western European countries. Moreover, a good deal of the lower life expectancy rate in the U.S. is accounted for by the difference in life expectancy of African-Americans versus other populations in the United States. (Currently, they comprise 12% of the U.S. population). Life expectancy for African-Americans is about 72.3 years, while for whites it is about 77.7 years. What accounts for the difference? Numerous scholars have investigated this question. The most prevalent explanations are differences in income and personal risk factors. One study found that about one-third of the difference between white and African-American life expectancies in the United States was accounted for by income; another third was accounted for by personal risk factors such as obesity, blood pressure, alcohol intake, diabetes, cholesterol concentration, and smoking. Yet another study found that much of the disparity was due to higher rates of HIV, diabetes, and hypertension among African Americans. And don’t overlook the astronomical gun violence that regularly occurs within the African American community. That also gets calculated into any statistic. Lastly, remember that a plethora of factors influence life expectancy, including genetics, lifestyle, diet, income and educational levels. Thus, life expectancy is far more complicated than it first appears.

      • I don’t know about your source, but I would use this:

        I don’t know from what you said whether you agree that Switzerland is indeed experiencing high suicide due to toxic cultural formalities and other variables since based on what you wrote, the argument provided by you would be wrong and the article as well taking into account the various ever-changing variables of the country that change the outcome every now and then. Also do know that I live in the US and it is not peachy. It is exhausting, everyone works too much, and unaffordable healthcare due to improper national expenditures from poor leadership leads to the deaths of a lot of people as a result of not being able to afford such basic amenities and since money is the lifeblood of this large nation. So basically, yes complex, but not impossible to determine.

  • lol..sounds allways very it..But ppl should smile more walking the streets as we have such a great country…having lived in the USA for five years, there are lots of things I have come to miss..Especially our good health insurance system and sozial system..May be a reason to move back ones we retire…lol..Miss family as well..

  • I’ll tell you something, when you live there as an ex-pat you love it, complain about it, and miss it like heck when you leave!

  • I have been traveling to Switzerland since 1971 made 110trips, for academic, research and vacation purposes. All travel undertaken with Swissair, Swiss International Airlines and Edelweiss. Love Switzerland to bits. Everything works. Have resided at the same Hotel, Hotel Krone Unterstrass since 1971. Celebrated my 70th Birthday at the Hotel in February 2020. Looking forward to when my wife and I can travel again without Covid restrictions. Love the food, magnificent scenery, cleanliness and enjoy model rail shops in Zurich and elsewhere. Lovely teas at Sprungli in sheer peace and harmony. If anyone has not been to Switzerland then their education is incomplete!!!!! Wonderful friends in Switzerland too.

Dimitri Burkhard


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